Programming

Turner Entertainment Group Slates Upfront During Broadcast Week

TNT, TBS, truTV to Strut Their Stuff During Same Week as Broadcast-Network Upfronts 3/03/2008 06:45:00 AM Eastern

Turner Entertainment Group set May 14 for its annual upfront presentation, showcasing cable networks TNT, TBS and truTV during the same week as the broadcast-network upfronts.

Frank TV

The move -- scheduling the show that week at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom -- is in keeping with Turner's long-held position that broadcast and cable networks should have better parity in terms of the rates at which they're compensated by advertisers. Turner has maintained that there exists but "one television world" and that because of that, what's known as the CPM (cost per thousand homes) gap should close.

"Our portfolio of networks is the strongest on television in terms of solid branding, reach and audience deliveries," said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, in a statement. "Everyone in the industry realizes the broadcast business has been on a steep decline for years -- this year in particular. For advertisers, our networks provide an alternative that is getting better and better."

At the presentation, each network plans announcements to stress its forte to advertisers.

TNT will tout its original dramas, cable's highest-rated, with a promise to have the network's Monday-Wednesday primetime schedule almost all-original by the year 2010. The network is mulling Shephard/Robin's Truth in Advertising and is developing DreamWorks TV's fantasy-adventure The Genie Chronicles; Generations, a family drama from Robert Redford and John Sacret Young; Technophobia, from Mark Frost (Twin Peaks); and others. It will also stress plans to develop unscripted shows, including projects from Tony Scott, Mark Burnett and Gay Rosenthal.

TNT's previously green-lit new shows -- Raising the Bar, from Steven Bochco, and Leverage, from Dean Devlin -- are set to premiere later this year.

TBS will stress its own development of originals, tailored to its comedy brand. The network plans new seasons of Frank TV, The Bill Engvall Show and My Boys and is developing a crop of others.

truTV, which rebranded earlier this year from Court TV, will focus on continued ratings growth and new programming with its new positioning as a network based on "actuality."

Turner staged an upfront show at New York's Museum of Modern Art for the trio last year that approached, if not matched, the broadcast networks' in length. The networks brought key talent to speak or perform, including Holly Hunter and Frank TV's Frank Caliendo.

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